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Content creators have been freaking out because they believe YouTube’s new terms of service may delete accounts that don’t make money. But YouTube says otherwise.
Last week, YouTube announced its new terms of service that will take effect on Dec. 10. In the “Account Suspension and Termination” section of the terms, YouTube says: “YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account’s access to all or part of the Service if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable.”
Monday afternoon, YouTube clarified what it meant by adding this section.
The “TeamYouTube” Twitter account responded to a tweet that claimed, “YouTube is probably over.” The company tweeted that the “commercially viable” section of the terms is about discontinuing outdated or low usage YouTube features and that it would not impact content creators.
To clarify, the "commercially viable" section is not about terminating an account bc it’s not making money / not in YPP. It’s about discontinuing certain features or parts of the service bc they are outdated or have low usage. This does not impact creators or viewers in new ways.— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) November 11, 2019
Since the terms were announced, content creators—especially smaller creators who don’t have their channels monetized—have been worried that their accounts are doomed.
For a channel to become monetized, it must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours within a 12-month period.
In January, YouTube removed my ability to collect SuperChats.— Faith J Goldy ✝️ (@FaithGoldy) November 10, 2019
In the Spring, YouTube demonetized my whole channel.
Come December, they will delete channels that are “no longer commercially viable”.
To this day, my channel has yet to earn a single strike.
These people are SCUM https://t.co/vkIg3onNbg
So according to Youtube’s new Terms of Service, if your channel isn’t making them enough money, they’ll just terminate it.— MP (@MpNintendoFan) November 9, 2019
To all of the smaller content creators out there, it was nice knowing ya.
A friend of mine said that one day YouTube will collapse.— Kallionic (@KallionicYT) November 10, 2019
We're close. We're very very close.
if you're a small creator who is just trying to do things to stay afloat/find a small audience for the creative things you do: these platforms don't care about you. and they can't wait to kick you off.— Liz Ryerson (@ellaguro) November 10, 2019
YouTube has new Terms Of Service on December 10th. This basically says that if channels don't make enough money, THEY WILL POSSIBLY TERMINATE THEM!!!— Christian Maracle (@MaracleMan) November 9, 2019
Looks like I fought to the very end but now I may be close to losing my livelihood, losing my passion, my audience and my... pic.twitter.com/P74uQe8jpW
The “commercially viable” section of the terms have been interpreted in several different ways online.
In its current terms of service, YouTube reserves the right to delete an account for violating its copyright policies or community guidelines, which includes content that is sexually explicit, hateful, violent, harassing, or spam. However, YouTube already has an “inactive accounts policy” that allows it to delete accounts that have been inactive for at least six months, have never uploaded a video, or that are not actively watching or commenting on other videos.
One speculation, posted to the YouTube Help community forum, is that YouTube’s new terms could be to help enforce this inactive accounts policy.
A theory circulating on Reddit is that YouTube seeks to remove users who have been using the platform for free storage—uploading several private or unlisted videos rather than paying for a storage service, such as Google Drive. Another Reddit thread speculates that YouTube updated its terms to comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) regulation as a result of a recent settlement. In September, YouTube was ordered to pay $170 million to the FTC and New York for violating child privacy laws.
A Change.org petition created in 2016 to fire YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has resurfaced online since YouTube announced its new terms last week.
With the new terms of service allowing channels not making a proft to be terminated, we need to take a stand. Google, Inc: Fire Susan Wojcicki as YouTube CEO - Sign the Petition! https://t.co/8EacbJOORx via @ChangeAUS— KaOticVA (@KaOticVA) November 10, 2019
The petition, which claims that since Wojcicki became CEO in 2014 “things started [going] downhill,” has more than 56,000 signatures and has had a spike in support since YouTube’s new terms were announced.
TeamYouTube has been responding to several tweets from users who have interpreted the new terms as YouTube getting rid of content creators who don’t generate money.
We're working to clarify for everyone as they bring questions to us! Check out our reply to this tweet here: https://t.co/Iq7uTBxQOf— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) November 11, 2019
Brianna Stone is a contributing reporter to the Daily Dot. Her work has been published by the Dallas Morning News, Austin American-Statesman, and USA Today.